Posted by News Express | 21 June 2017 | 1,602 times
President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has lauded the decision of the Federal Government to reconstruct the failed Apapa Wharf road as its grim state serves as both an embarrassment to the country and a huge financial loss to the government on a weekly basis.
Dangote, who spoke on Tuesday in Lagos, said: “The economy loses more than N20 billion daily and it affects all businesses across the country. All our operations in the hinterland in Ilorin, in Kano are operating at 40 per cent maximum capacity.”
Lamenting the state of road infrastructure in the country, Dangote said: “Today there is no linkage road going from South West to the North. You have to go all the way through Ajaokuta, Obajana, Lokoja and you have to go by the uncompleted road Obasanjo started 13 years ago.”
Commenting on his resolve to personally get involved in the Apapa Wharf road reconstruction, he said: “Because it is very embarrassing! We can’t just sit and have a road like that in the heart of trade in Nigeria. More than 60 per cent of our country’s import and exports come through the port and we leave it un-attended. That is why we started on our own. Flour Mills said they will join us, but now government changed the design because they want all the cables and pipes underground and to have a more robust solution.”
Dangote explained that, to help in bringing the cost down, he forced his company to do execute the project at zero profit. According to him, “We will be spending N2.5 billion and also Flour Mills for reconstructing 2km double lane in Apapa on each side, making a total of 4km.”
He further explained that “the biggest job is drainage because that is what is destroying the road. We will make sure this problem is sorted out once and for all. This thing should not be allowed to happen. We started discussion with the government over one year ago and we are happy that we have been given the opportunity to finally fix it.”
News Express recalls that the Federal Government last weekend handed over the troubled road to Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) and Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN) for immediate reconstruction with concrete overlay.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the project was signed by the FG, DIL, FMN and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, signed the agreement for the handover of the road on behalf of the FG while Hadiza Usman, Managing Director, NPA, and Joseph Makoju, Honourary Advisor to Aliko Dangote, and FMN’s Gbadebo, signed for their respective organisations. The MOU signing ceremony was held at the Conference Hall of Area B Command of the Nigeria Police, Apapa. The three organisations are embarking on the project as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) to Apapa, where they all do business.
The construction work to be handled by AG Dangote, a civil construction company and joint venture between Dangote Group and AG of Brazil, would utilise concrete slabs as against asphalt, common with road construction in this part of the world.
AG Dangote has successfully constructed concrete roads in Ibese, Ogun State, and currently working on roads in Obajana, Kogi State, and also in Benin City, Edo State.
Ashif Jumar, Managing Director and Chief Executive of AG Dangote, in a chat with the media said: “We are building a four-kilometre concrete dual carriage road that has a life span of over 40 years. It is a rigid pavement road of 250 millimetres thickness with solid underlying materials . . . We have already mobilised to site, but our major challenge is the chaotic Apapa traffic and the inclement rainy season. I appeal for patience and cooperation.”
Makoju, on his part, said: “Here at Dangote, we have built houses, new towns, hospitals, schools, roads, markets and awarded scholarships in the communities where we have our operations but this is a higher form of corporate social responsibility. This project is a higher form of intervention on a national level, intervening in provision of critical infrastructure.”
Makoju, however, tasked government to do more in terms of providing a conducive and enabling business environment for businesses to thrive stressing that if the environment is conducive and right, businesses will thrive and do more in terms of interventions in national infrastructure.
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